The Project

The welfare state (WS) and the European Union are two precious legacies of the XX century. Their mutual relationship has been however fraught by unresolved tensions (and a potential “clash”), which the recent crisis has markedly exacerbated. The project purpose is to cast new light on the genetic roots of such tensions, their temporal swings, the possible institutional solutions and their political pre-conditions.   

The Welfare State serves essential economic, social and political functions. The European Union (European Monetary Union - EMU - in particular) is in its turn essential for growth and jobs, but tends to undermine the WS’s very institutional foundations. When, how and why did the initial “elective affinity” between the two spheres start to weaken? Is “reconciliation” possible and how?

Drawing on Weber’s insights on the relationship between values, ideas, and politics, the project focuses on the intellectual and political dynamics of both WS-building and EU-building, with the aim of elaborating a new framework capable of reconnecting these three elements in the explanation of change, thusbreaking new grounds in institutional theories.            

Through a multi-disciplinary approach (political science, sociology, political philosophy, policy analysis, law and economics), the project will reconstruct the logic of key past junctures, such as the crisis of the 1970s, the years between the Amsterdam and the Lisbon Treaties, the post-2008 crisis. 

Within the framework of the project, the EuVisions observatory will provide up to date and systematic data collection and analysis on (social) EU-building “in action”.         


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